Halliburton Reports $2.1b Charge on Job Cuts, Assets

Halliburton Reports $2.1b Charge on Job Cuts, AssetsHalliburton Reports $2.1b Charge on Job Cuts, Assets

Halliburton Co. booked a $2.1 billion expense in the first quarter for cutting jobs and writing off assets, giving some results early and delaying the full earnings release as it strives to wrap up a takeover of rival Baker Hughes Inc.

The world’s largest provider of fracking services eliminated 6,000 more jobs in the quarter to reduce costs, according to a statement on Friday.

The release of its full earnings report is being postponed to May 3 from April 25 because of the deadline to complete the deal with Baker Hughes by the end of this month, Houston-based Halliburton said, Bloomberg reported.

"It makes sense to delay this until after April 30, but the timing is just a little odd, doing it the Friday before the report," Luke Lemoine, an analyst at Capital One Southcoast in New Orleans, said on Friday in a phone interview. "It does probably show that they’re trying to work on this deal really hard for the April 30 deadline, and they just don’t need any distractions right now."

Halliburton, which announced the takeover in November 2014 in a deal now worth about $25 billion to better compete against industry leader Schlumberger Ltd., is facing a Justice Department lawsuit to stop the merger on concern it will harm competition. The deal, which would unite the No. 2 and No. 3 oil-services providers, threatens to eliminate head-to-head competition in 23 products and services used in oil exploration and create a duopoly with market leader Schlumberger, the Justice Department said.

Oilfield service providers were the first to feel the pain when crude prices began falling in the middle of 2014. Of the more than 250,000 jobs cut globally in the energy industry during the downturn, service providers continue to be the most heavily impacted after customers slashed more than $100 billion in spending last year, with promises of more cuts to come.